The Potter’s Brush: The Kenzan Style in Japanese Ceramics

The Kyoto ceramic artist Ogata Kenzan (1663–1743) treated the ceramic surface like a painting, using it to express visual themes alluding to Japanese literary traditions. Kenzan’s distinctive decorative style has influenced Japanese ceramics profoundly ever since. The proliferation of works in the Kenzan style has posed a challenge to traditional methods of distinguishing between the authentic and the fake. This exhibition approached the phenomenon known as the Kenzan style by differentiating more precisely between Kenzan’s own imitators, and even forgers. The exhibition was based on the one hundred signed Kenzan works in the Freer collection, the largest group of Kenzan wares to be found outside Japan. View the Potter’s Brush online exhibition.